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This International Women’s Day, Big Issue Invest is celebrating the female-led award-winning social enterprise Foundervine.
The organisation has supported over 5,000 diverse-led ventures to start and scale through training, space, networks and access to capital.
The organisation has recently been supported with £127,000 in investment from Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of Big Issue Group.
Izzy Obeng, CEO of Foundervine, founded the organisation to help change the global face of entrepreneurship by building outstanding programmes that help entrepreneurs build sustainable ventures, and by solving the opportunity gap that currently exists.
Since launching in 2018, Foundervine has partnered with private and public sector partners to accelerate the growth of new, diverse-led ventures in Europe. The organisation delivers accelerator programmes in the UK that support early-stage companies, providing entrepreneurs from underserved communities with mentorship, training and financial support. Foundervine transforms society by making innovation open to anyone, anywhere.
The funding from Big Issue Invest will primarily be used to invest in new and current staff at Foundervine, which will help the organisation support even more people. Amongst the new hires is a dedicated business development person to focus specifically on making and closing deals in support of the senior leadership, enabling them to proactively partner with new organisations that support their vision.
The organisation’s vision is to build a world with no social or economic barriers to innovation. Foundervine aims are:
Access: to increase access to entrepreneurship and digital careers for future leaders.
Acceleration: to increase opportunities for emerging ventures, including providing access to networks, high impact learning opportunities and investment-readiness support.
Advocacy: to act as a voice for overlooked founders, creators and innovators in the UK and beyond.
Frustrated by a lack of diversity, Foundervine are on a mission to remove the social barriers to entrepreneurship and build the greatest network of digitally-enabled businesses in the world. It prides itself on its ability to plan and execute programmes smoothly and feed its alumni into a permanent and closely connected community platform who meet regularly, attend learning sessions, share daily thoughts, ideas, connections, opportunities, and more.
Linda Wickstrom, Investment Manager at Big Issue Invest, said: “The work Foundervine do is absolutely vital, which is why we are so pleased to be able to support them to grow their organisation and further their mission. Entrepreneurship is incredibly important for the UK economy, and presently there are far too many barriers to equality for diverse business owners – with black business owners currently having median turnover of just £25,000, compared to £35,000 for white business owners. Foundervine exists to put an end to this inequality.”
Izzy Obeng, CEO of Foundervine, said: “Our team and vision have been given a major boost through the funding provided by Big Issue Invest. Their trust in our work is truly priceless and will enable us to broaden our horizons and maximise our impact. In an era where support for diverse-led startups and entrepreneurs is ever more crucial, we are thankful for Big Issue Invest’s dedication to empowering underserved individuals and creating a more fair and resilient future.”